How I got rid of a LinkBucks ReDirect

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I haven't touched a PC in years, so I haven't ever really had to worry about viruses and things like that.  But a couple months ago, my browser was highjacked by something that kept redirecting me to a site called LinkBucks, which is just a page with a bunch of spammy links that pays referrers every time they send someone there.  The worst part of it was, I'd google the issue, and then this virus (or whatever it was, I'm not sure it was a virus I guess) would block all virus scanning sites, and even support forums that described how to solve the problem!

I was happy to find and support another one-man business on the hill,  Computer Love , who  helped me out through some of this.

I was happy to find and support another one-man business on the hill, Computer Love, who  helped me out through some of this.

It sounds like this is something a lot of other people are experiencing, so I figured I'd share how I've dealt with the problem.  Without getting in to too much detail -- all you have to do to get rid of the re-direct is clear your browser cache, re-set your browser to default settings, and reset your ROUTER to factory settings.  None of the virus scans ever found anything, because the virus lives in the router (apparently they can do that?!) so that's why you have to reset the router to factory settings.  

One more note: if this problem is happening on one computer, don't connect any others to the wifi network until you've reset it!  Otherwise they'll get it too.  I made that mistake before I realized the router was the issue.  

Mike McGinn Interview

It was a really exciting and optimistic time when Mike McGinn was elected as the Mayor of Seattle in 2009, with his election following shortly after Obama's swearing in (remember how excited we were about that one?!).

His urbanist positions on density, bike improvements and transit are exactly what we need in Seattle and are what a majority of Seattleites say they support.  So I have never understood why, even in liberal Seattle, so many people become anti-density, anti-bike and anti-transit when it comes time for real-world implementation.  I thought that McGinn's take on this would be interesting to hear, as someone who more than anyone else right now, personifies urbanism in Seattle.

So, yesterday I asked Dominic Holden, the smart and telegenic (a rare combo for journalists in Seattle) News Editor at The Stranger, to interview him on this topic at my studio.  It's still up for debate what form this project will take, because it all came together really quickly (I didn't think he'd say yes when I asked for an interview!).  So stay tuned for updates and let me know if you have any suggestions for relevant articles, interviews, people, ideas, etc that I should be aware of.

Below is a behind the scenes look at the shoot, in the form of a pop-up video.

Blue Chalk Website

I'm working on re-designing my website, so I've been looking at websites of other freelancers & video production companies for inspiration. 

Blue Chalk's website stood out to me. For one, because the way they describe themselves sounds more like how I would describe myself & my business (if I were better at describing myself) than any video company I've come across. 

I love this nugget:

Blue Chalk arrives at a complicated time in the evolution of the visual media industries. We embrace this moment of disruption and encourage blue sky thinking about the technologies and approaches needed to create and convey picture-led stories in a digital world.

...and I totally agree with it.  This part confused me a little though:

The world of visual communications, once a largely individual endeavor, is rapidly becoming a team sport. Blue Chalk specializes in building teams to accomplish the ambitious multimedia and video projects that clients now demand.

I think that in video production at least, things are moving in the opposite direction.  I frequently get the comment that I "came in WAY below the other bidders" on projects.  I have to assume that it's either because other freelancers are inflating their bids because they think they can, or (more likely) because I'm bidding against companies that default to hiring a full production team for everything.  They'll hire a director, camera operator, sound guy, grip, script writer, editor, etc... because "that's the way it's done," whereas I typically do all of those roles myself or with one or two assistants.

It looks like Blue Chalk offers a wider range of services than I do, so maybe that's where the difference lies.  I definitely make a point of sticking to what I know, video production, so I don't branch out into all the areas that Blue Chalk does. 

But anyways, keep up the good work over there in Brookyln, Blue Chalk!  And everyone else, stay tuned for a website redesign in the not too distant future. 

New Lens!

Went out and got myself a new lens today, the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro (thanks Glazers!).  So expect to see some even closer close-ups in my next food video.  Here are a couple of test snaps.  First one is a side by side comparison of how tight I could get with my new lens vs my old standby lens, which is a 24-105.

 And a close-up of one of my couch cushions.

When to work for free

There's a lot of people out there who think they should be able to get videographers to work for free.  Just check the craigslist job board right now and I'm sure you'll find a couple.  Many people are positive that the "exposure" you'll get from doing their video will be so valuable that videographers should be groveling at their feet to be a part of their project.  Well sorry!  If you want professional results, you're going to have to pay for it.

But I'm not one of those absolutists who will rant against craigslist postings (here's an example from just this morning)...

...and there are times when I will work for free.

Last month I shot an interview with Justin Carder, for Daisy Whitney's New Media Minute.  I didn't get paid, but in this case the exposure was definitely well worth it.  My website got screen time in the video, I got a link in all the places the video was syndicated to (including the Huffington Post*), and most importantly, the show is targeted at people interested in New Media, exactly the kind people that it would be valuable to get my name in front of.

So while I would, in general, recommend against working for free, there are definitely times when working for free can be a good business decision.  Just make sure that the exposure you'll be getting is worth the time and effort you put in... and remember that most of the time, it's not. 

Here's the episode.  She introduces me/ my interview at about 1:12.

* I even have my own tag on Huffington Post now! Although I appear to be sharing it with my google page rank arch-nemesis, Nuclear Non-Profliferation Expert David Albright.


How to make an interview set with stuff around the office

The Seattle Storm called me in to the office earlier this week, to shoot a video message from Ashley Robinson.  When I get there, it turns out they also want to shoot an in-studio type interview, so I've got about 1/2 hour to build a set, using stuff I could find around the office... and I think it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. I used a room divider as the backdrop, with two desk lamps behind it to give it some depth.  I had my flip mino hd (with tripod) in my backpack so I used that as a second camera (circled in the pic below)... I've found that the flip works OK as a second camera for these kind of interviews, as long as you can figure out how to get it in close enough to get a tight shot with it.  I guess it might actually make more sense to use the flip for the wide shot, since it doesn't zoom, but I don't have enough faith in the flip for that just yet.  I'd rather know for certain that the wide shot is going to look good, since the tight shot isn't really necessary. I had two more desk lamps to light both the subjects and that was it.  The colors from the flip never quite match up perfectly to my Panasonic DVX footage, no matter how much color correction I do, but it looks pretty good, and the benefit of having the second camera angle makes it well worth it for editing purposes.  It's worth noting that this interview was produced exclusively for the web, I've never tried, and probably wouldn't try using the flip for something meant for TV.

Storm Set 2

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